The World's Largest Daisy Chain
Culture and Politics - Sex and Culture
Written by Douglas Wilson
Tuesday, 18 September 2012
There is an argument against homosexual marriage that I have offered
from time to time which has been met with a strange sort of incredulity.
It came up again the other night during the Q&A after my debate
with Clarke Cooper, executive director of the Log Cabin Republicans, and
so I thought I should jot down a few additional thoughts about it here.
There are two kinds of "beyond-two plurality" in marriage. One is old
school -- polygamy -- and I have argued that it is not possible to
argue for homosexual marriage without all those same arguments being
available for use by the polygamists later on. As I said in the debate,
if you leave the key under the mat, more people than just you can use
But the other kind of plurality in marriage is required by
bisexuality, and this argument is the one that results in the
incredulity . . . as though I don't know what bisexuality actually is
(which was in fact one of the questions in the Q&A). So to get one
thing out of the way right at the top, I don't believe that it is
mandatory for a bisexual man to pursue a guy and a girl at the same time. All that is necessary for my argument is that it could entail
this, and whether or not it did would be entirely up to the lusts of
the person concerned.
If a man is lusting for something, by what
principle can we deny him a marital imprimatur for it? By what standard? If a bisexual man marries in a state that allows him to marry either a
man or a woman, this means that he is being forced by that state to
choose which side of his sexual identity will be expressed in marriage.
The other side of his sexual identity (the way God made him, forsooth!)
is being stifled by the narrow-mindedness of the state in question. It
may be actually suppressed, or it might still be expressed by cheating,
or by getting a tolerant partner who wants an open marriage. But
whatever he does, the state forbids a bisexual sexual expression within
the confines of marriage. And what I want to know is, where is the hate
coming from, man?
There is another implication to this that I did not bring up at the
debate because the math would get too complicated, but it bears
mentioning here. Given the principles of our new marital logic, bisexual
marriage requires at least three people, but it actually opens us up to
a lot more than that. Since the math can get convoluted, let's make it a story problem.
So logic eventually catches up with us, and we have the first state
that allows bisexuals to marry. Our long national nightmare is over. So
Bob marries both Suzy and George, and everybody's happy, right? But are
Suzy and George married too? It seems that we should allow it,
but the fact that Bob is deeply in love with Suzy, and also in love with
George, and vice versa, does not mean at all that George and Suzy need
to have the hots for one another. But . . . they too are bisexual. Oh,
no! This means that Suzy has Bob, but gets to pick Kimberly for her three-way
marriage. Kimberly is also bisexual, and she is married to Henry. In
the meantime, George has met Megan, the love of his life, girl-wise.
Megan is bi also, and she has Gloria waiting in the wings. Still with
Now there are certain legal questions, like whether this is going to
be a great big globule marriage, with Kimmberly being married, kinda, to
Bob and to George, making it a marital orgy, or whether this is
actually going to be a chain of discrete marriages. Some may look at
this arrangement and see the world's largest daisy chain, but I see a
cash cow for marriage and family attorneys. Follow the money, man.
In the Q&A after our debate, one person said, with dismay, but "that would be cheating!" And it struck me that something else is going on, at least with some folks.
There are three kinds of responses to this argument. The first swallows the reductio --
"yeah, sexual liberty means liberty to do whatever the hell you want."
Sleep with whoever you want, and marry whoever you want. As a few simple
thought experiments would show -- like the experiment above -- this
would not broaden marriage, but would rather destroy it. And that,
incidentally, is the actual point.
The second would be the homosexual activist who does see the force of
the argument, but who has enough PR sense to not want video or audio of
anybody swallowing the reductio to get out. Somebody would
send a copy to the Family Research Council, and they would post it on
their website under the headline "See?" Incrementalism means that you
don't reveal your whole agenda at once. This helps account for some of
the "bewilderment" when this is raised. Nobody is proposing this, and
nobody will propose it, at least until ten minutes after the previous
perversion is codified in law.
The third kind of response -- and this was the surprise to me -- is
that of the sentimentalist homosexual. Such a person has bought into all
the propaganda about homosexuality being okay, and so has ditched that
particular traditional value, but he still clings to another
traditional value with real tenacity. He believes in the happy endings
of chick flicks as fervently as anybody ever did. He may be a sodomite,
but he is also a sap. Same sex is okay, but the number "two" (being
necessary to contours of the "true love story") is absolutely
This is woven tightly in with the sexual envy directed at heterosexual couples who are truly happy together. Why should they have
the happy endings? This is an emotional attachment that some people
still have, but the logic of the sexual revolution will deal with it in
"But traditional love stories have always involved just two . . ."
"Traditional? Right. Like you guys care about that."
Follow the logic. Do the math. Don't be like the guy who shot his
parents and pleaded for the court to show mercy because he was an